Giving the Final Gift: Eleven Ways to Help a Dying Person Let Go

In our culture, the end of life is seen as a scary and lonely experience. So when a loved one is dying, you may feel afraid, awkward, and unsure of how to comfort them. Here are practical tips for breaking the death taboo and helping your loved one experience the peaceful passing they deserve.

Written By Patt Lind-Kyle, MA, author of Embracing the End of Life

Patt Lind-Kyle, MA

Patt Lind-Kyle, MA

         We all know that our life will end someday, and most of us try really hard not to think about it. But when someone you love becomes terminally ill, not only they, but you too, must face death. It’s a daunting prospect and one that fills most people with dread (not to mention the urge to run far away). Yet you don’t have to feel this way. In fact, you have a powerful opportunity to help your dying loved one release their fear and embrace, and even welcome, their death.

          Most people approach death with fear, anxiety, and avoidance. In a word, they resist. So when someone you love is dying, the best way to help them is by supporting their peaceful transition. In other words, help them stop resisting death and enable them to let go.

          But to do this, you must also come to terms with your misgivings about death. And the sooner, the better.

          We all enter a state of resistance (called the constricted self), when we separate from our mother’s body at birth. This constricted state is what makes you afraid of death; it is fragmented, fear-driven, and disconnected from your higher energy and awareness, also called your expanded self. Your expanded self realizes death is an illusion, a transition, and nothing to be afraid of. But when you face death early on (which my book Embracing the End of Life teaches how to do), you can access your expanded self and live a richer, happier, less fearful life—and have a peaceful and even joyful transition when the time comes.

          Unfortunately, most people dwell in the constricted self their entire lives. So chances are, your dying loved one is struggling with fear and resistance, even as death approaches. Not only can you help your loved one experience a peaceful death, but you can also use the experience to come to terms with your own death.

          You can give the gift of a good death to a dying loved one. It’s about how they want to be cared for throughout their terminal illness. Find out the kind of music, or readings, or care your dying loved one wants. Remember that it is important to follow the process of death—not to impose your plan.

          Follow these tips to help your dying loved one stop resisting death and let go peacefully.

First, prepare yourselfNear-death experience survivors have observed that at the time of death, they could sense any strong thoughts or negative emotions brought into the space by others. These emotions can impact the dying person’s state of mind. Therefore, before you visit your loved one during their final moments, inwardly prepare yourself so as to not negatively affect their death. You can do this by meditating, calm breathing, or practicing mindfulness. The calm, inward-dwelling energy this creates will invoke a presence of love and caring that positively influences your loved one when they die.

Heal lingering wounds between the two of you. If you and your dying loved one have existing hurts or conflicts, lovingly resolve those issues now. Give your loved one a chance to express themselves or clear the air, and (gently) say what you need to say to facilitate healing and peace.

Don’t shy away from talking directly to your loved one about their death. Let your loved one know that you would like to help them come to terms with their death. Make them feel comfortable talking about any emotions and uncertainties they may be feeling. Ask them what they need from you, and try to give it to them wholeheartedly. It may be that they simply want you to sit beside them in quiet presence.

Help them practice the self-care they need. As a person dies, they need to be in their own rhythm with family, friends, and caregivers. Encourage them to sleep, eat, pray, and meditate while remaining in a consciously aware state. If at all possible, try to keep them peaceful and pain-free, and help them to focus on emotionally pleasant feelings.

Encourage them to meditate. Meditation is a practice that prepares you for death. A daily meditation practice trains you to release and let go of your constricted self every day. On a practical level, it trains the mind to let go of the busy resistances of daily life. And when you are in the dying process, meditation prepares you to relax, stabilizes your mind, opens you to compassion, and creates a dynamic shift that reduces your anxiety and fear.

Encourage your loved one to meditate by using their breath, a mantra, or a chant that repeats over and over to help them let go of the mental world. This creates a growing sense of expansion beyond the boundaries of the body. If the person who is dying is unfamiliar with meditation, offer them a CD or video of guided meditation practices, or volunteer to lead them through a guided meditation yourself.

Offer them affirmations for letting go. Changing one’s thought patterns is important to help in releasing resistance at the end of life. Write down the following affirmations and give them to the dying person, or offer to read the affirmations aloud to the person so they can focus on them completely:

  • I am open to forgiveness and to my love flowing boundlessly in me.
  • I find the inner resources to be able to let go of my body.
  • I find the inner resources to let go of my emotions and my mind.
  • Death is not my enemy. Death is a doorway of continuing life.
  • My life is changing and I am open to my death.
  • I accept things as they are and I am free of fear.

Bring them soothing music to listen to. In the dying process, hearing becomes one of the most accessible experiences of your surroundings. Offer your loved one recordings of instrumentals, chants, and songs to bring them peace. If you are a musician, consider recording gentle music to soothe and relax your loved one in the months, days, or hours prior to their death.

Share your favorite stories and memories with them. Think of your favorite stories involving your loved one and share them during your visits together. Help remind your loved one of their best human qualities, allowing them to feel uplifted as they recall loving times in their life.

Speak prayers and reminders before and after death. As hearing is the last of the five senses to go, it is considered helpful to speak reminders and prayers aloud. When a person is dying and just after they have died, these reassure your loved one that they are not alone in this new state. Ask them what readings they would like you to read to them when death is near and afterward.

If your dying loved one is religious, consider reading sacred scriptures aloud to them both during and after death. The three major monotheistic religions—Christianity, Judaism, Islam—as well as Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism all offer prayers and meditations for the dying and at the moment of death.

Use this “release formula” if death is prolonged. When the person is peaceful and all the physical signs of dying are present, but dying is prolonged, it may be caused by the family’s refusal to let the person go. In this situation, I recommend Reverend Jerry Farrell’s “release formula” for family and friends to say to the dying person. Softly and gently speak the following statements, either singularly or together. (Feel free to use your own words.)

  • Know that you have led a complete life and are dearly loved.
  • Know that we love you and want you to be in peace.
  • We know that the time has come for you to choose what is best for you.
  • None of us are angry with you and we release you from our care and concern. Know that you have our love and permission to go.
  • Know that there is no more that we can do for you.
  • We know that your pain and suffering will soon be relieved.
  • We love you and hope to see you in the next life.
  • We will do fine. We will be okay after you leave us.

Don’t touch their body for 20 minutes after death. The first 20 minutes after dying is one of the most critical times for the person who has died; many traditions believe this period is the “gateway” passage of the soul out of the body into the next realm. Therefore, do not touch the body during this time. Instead, follow these guidelines to be respectful of whatever experience the dying person may be having. Recent research at the University of Michigan demonstrated that when the heart stops, the brain is still active for approximately 20 minutes.

  • Sit quietly near the body, breathe slowly, and relax your own body.
  • Imagine the body and consciousness of the person who has died take the form of a small light moving up their spine and then quickly flying out from their body at the top of the head like a shooting star and dissolving into the image of the heart of a divine or luminous Presence.
  • Affirm, visualize, and even pray that the dead person be free from all mental and emotional suffering as they are in this Presence.
  • Imagine a light or star released from the deceased into the luminosity of the expanding light of the true nature of their mind. Then speak the affirmation: “May your freedom be for the benefit of all beings, especially those you are leaving behind.” Sit in the presence of this person’s body and trust that you are helping to release the individual into another phase of their existence and honor and appreciate them for their courage and the beauty of their journey.

          The death of a loved one can be a challenging experience, especially if we ourselves fear the end of life. But instead of running from death when it hits close to home, you can choose to be present and help your loved one release their own fear and find peace in this very natural, universal process. This is the greatest gift you can offer them, and it can even help you become ready—truly ready—for your own transition someday.

Embracing the End of Life

Embracing the End of Life

About the Author:

Patt Lind-Kyle, MA, is the author of Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying & Awakening, and is a teacher, therapist, speaker, and consultant. Her book Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain won the Independent Publisher Gold Medal Award and a Best Book Award from USA Book News. Patt has written a chapter in Audacious Aging, and she is also the author of When Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up. She lives in Nevada City, CA, and can be found online at www.PattLindKyle.com.

About the Book:

Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying & Awakening (Llewellyn Publications, 2017, ISBN: 978-0-738-75356-0, $22.99) is available at bookstores nationwide, Amazon.com, and BarnesAndNoble.com.

Unique Housewarming Gifts

Skip the traditional house warming gift, and give the gift of elegance with a candle or oil reed diffuser from OOJRA’s amazing line. 

Perfecting the connection between scent, memory, and emotion, OOJRA will take you and your guests to a far away land in the comfort of your own home. Their line of sleek oil reed diffusers and candles have been created to match the atmosphere of traveling to unique places of the world. Each scent has been specifically created to induce feelings of focus, balance, romance, rest, and relaxation.

The candles and diffusers are available in a variety of scents are available including Thai Jasmine Bamboo, French Provence Lavender, Japanese Cherry Blossom, Australian Eucalyptus, Laos White Tea and Ginger, and Canadian Christmas Tree.

Retail: 

Oil Reed Diffuser: $39.99

Candle: $34.99

Learn more about OOJRA by visiting their official website at www.OOJRA.com.

5 Tips to Spring Clean Your Life

The spring season not only signifies the start of rain showers, colorful flowers and more outdoor activities, it also brings a rise in spring cleaning. Shake off the cold weather blues and revisit the simple parts of everyday life that could use a cleanup.

From storing your winter essentials to cleaning up your whole family’s diet (including your furry friends), these tips can help infuse the spring-cleaning spirit into your busy lifestyle.

Photo courtesy of Fotolia

Tidy Up Your Space

Spring cleaning starts by identifying what area to tackle first. Set yourself up for success by picking a small space, such as your pup’s abode. Clean his or her bowl, replenish old toys and freshen up the bed. Using a removable cover on the bed can help to keep the space tidy all-year long.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Store Away Winter Essentials

As the days get warmer and you start to break out your spring jackets, bulky coats and clothes may go unused. Declutter your closet by storing your winter essentials in bins and setting aside items to donate. This can help to make room for those bright spring clothes you’ve been waiting to wear.

Photo courtesy of Fotolia

Pay Attention to Hard to Reach Places

You may not realize how much dust collects on the top of your ceiling fan when it’s not running. Avoid circulating dust bunnies by giving ceiling fan blades a good brushing with a cloth or vacuum. In addition to keeping your home nice and neat, this can also help ease springtime allergies.

Photo courtesy of Fotolia

Dust Off Those Sneakers and Get Outside

With spring in full swing, freshen up your sneakers by throwing them into the washing machine (by themselves) and hanging them outside to dry. Once you’re ready to get moving, be sure to include your four-legged friend. Playing outside together can increase both of your activity levels and help you enjoy the warmer temperatures.

Refresh Your Diet and Your Pup’s

Spring means that fresh fruits and vegetables are starting to come back into season. Spruce up your diet by reintroducing these items, as well as quality proteins like chicken or salmon. In addition, ingredients with sources of fiber, like sweet potatoes, can help fill you up without adding too many empty calories. These foods are not only good for your health, they’re also beneficial for your dog. In fact, these ingredients are often found in many high-quality pet foods such as the NUTRO™ WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS™ line of dry dog food. As part of the NUTRO. FEED CLEAN™ philosophy, these dog food recipes are made with real, recognizable ingredients, allowing you to share your healthy eating lifestyle with your pup.

For more information on NUTRO™, visit Nutro.com or Facebook.com/NUTROBrand. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Nutro

Create a Calming Room!

For both kids and adults, a calming space can be a soothing end to the day or a great way to relax any time.

Particularly for a child’s room, “The elements are crucial for their mental and physical health, especially now when we live in a crazy, fast-paced world filled with overstimulation beyond compare,” interior designer Carolyn Feder, founder and owner of Sensory Interior Design shared with Parents.

BlissLights’ BlissBulb is an easy way to create a soothing ambiance. By plugging in one BlissBulb either in an outlet or in a light socket, a room can be completely transformed.

BlissBulbs feature:

  • Groundbreaking laser technology projects thousands of tiny pinpoints of light
  • Convenient bulb format is easy to install
  • No messy cords–just twist into any standard bulb socket
  • Lasts up to 8000 hours with energy costs less than $1 per year
  • Sleek design blends into any home’s décor
  • Can be used year round
  • Technology is safe to use around people and pets
  • Exhibits sharper, brighter, and better coverage than competitors
  • Can be used in lamps, down lighting, or even recessed lights
  • Available in Blue, Red, Green, or Cyan
  • Great for creating a soothing space

As noted by Parents for creating a calming room, “Lighting is the first and most important element we discuss in every project,” Feder says.

Whether an adult wants a go-to relaxation room or for a child’s reliable calming space, BlissBulbs are an easy way to instantly transform the lighting in a room to create a gorgeous glow.

$27.99 – BlissBulbs are available on BlissLights.com

5 Steps to Creating a Healthier Community

Obesity, with corresponding ailments such as heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes, is a well-chronicled public health issue and has many communities looking for ways to positively impact their residents.

What can prove to have an enduring impact on improving community health is a broad coalition of stakeholders coming together to create a culture of wellness. For example, the City of West Chicago, with its Healthy West Chicago initiative, is a case study in how to galvanize a community toward collective better health. With these modifiable tips from Mayor Ruben Pineda, other communities can work to improve the health and quality of life for residents.

Have a champion

Every major civic initiative needs someone to drive it, someone to assemble and activate the right roster of influencers, experts and activists. Progressive leaders concerned about community sustainability and resident health, such as city council members or those in influential positions within the community, make good candidates to spearhead the plan.

Enlist partners

To improve nutrition and increase physical activity in the City of West Chicago, Mayor Pineda reached out to community leaders in local government, education, health care, social services, faith-based entities, businesses and non-profits to initiate partnerships and secure funding to create the Healthy West Chicago Action Plan, a multi-year guide for promoting better health in the community.

Engage other community members

It is important to build awareness of your initiative and get buy-in from residents through consistent communication. One of the most important demographic segments to engage is children. Kids are open to change and are developing lifelong habits. They are also extremely influential with their parents, siblings and friends.

“The key to a sustainable, healthy future is to change the way the next generation thinks about nutrition and exercise,” Mayor Pineda said. “This makes the public school system critical to driving the behavioral changes that contribute to positive outcomes.”

Measure and adjust

Once your community’s health initiative is in action, assess it annually against the overarching plan and add, eliminate or improve components to continue the momentum toward a healthy community for generations to come.

Keep it fresh

A successful community-wide health initiative needs to continuously build on its momentum by adding new programs and participants. For example, Healthy West Chicago conducts sponsored activities such as free healthy cooking classes for students, a “Rethink Your Drink” campaign to educate community members about the harmful effects of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, weekly community walks with the mayor and a community garden initiative, which promotes organic suburban agriculture and benefits both the environment and local families. In addition, providing ongoing updates about programs and offering online tools, such as activity trackers and interactive walking route maps, are ways to build interest and retain participants.

For more information about how to implement a health and wellness program in your city, contact Mayor Pineda’s office at (630) 293-2200 extension 135, or visit healthywestchicago.com. (Family Features)

Photo of Mayor Pineda walking with students courtesy of Healthy West Chicago

Photo of woman gardening courtesy of The GardenWorks Project

SOURCE:
City of West Chicago

3 Kitchen and Bath Trends for 2018

When it’s time for a home remodel, specifically of a bathroom or kitchen, many homeowners turn to trendy looks as inspiration. Color, texture and material variance, like using different types of tile, lead the way in this year’s kitchen and bath trends.

To help amplify the look and appeal of your space, consider these tips from the experts at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry:

Try Different Shades

White is classic, crisp and always in style, while gray also provides a traditional look. Many designers pair white or gray cabinets, tile and wall color with a pop of color to add interest without overwhelming the space. There are many ways to introduce color, such as a bright island or items that are easily switched out like window treatments and artwork.

Combining different shades of white, gray and other neutral colors like beige is an effective way to create a warm and inviting space. One important note to consider when mixing these hues is that they need to be in the same color family. When incorporating white and gray, go for colors that have the same base – either yellow or blue. Mixing a yellow-gray with a blue-white can result in discord that may not “feel” right. A qualified remodeler who has experience in design can provide expert advice and guide the decision-making process to help avoid costly mistakes.

Consider Various Tile Types

Another popular treatment in kitchens and bathrooms is to use different types of tile and surface stone. Incorporating tile of different shapes and texture such as quartz, marble or granite can energize even the smallest space.

Scale provides another way to create interest. To achieve a mosaic feel, look for 1-by-1-foot tiles prepped on larger 12-by-12-foot sheets. Sometimes these sheets include a pre-defined pattern that can help simplify installation.

Pick Alternate Patterns

Tile options are available in many varieties, so it can be difficult to know where to start. Subway tile, a classic standby, can be invigorated by arranging the rectangular 3-by-6-inch shapes in patterns like herringbone or basket weave. This versatile tile can be used in both traditional kitchens and bathrooms as well as transitional or more contemporary spaces.

Many manufacturers now include textured tile, featuring patterns that carry the look of wood grain; tiles are also available in three-dimensional textures adding movement and interest with easy care. For example, using a variety of gray hues can create a relaxing and warm environment.

Find more trendy tips for home design at NARI.org. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
National Association of the Remodeling Industry

Small Changes for Better Living

A busy schedule doesn’t have to prevent you from taking steps toward a lifestyle that fosters overall well-being. There are many easy, small changes you can make toward better living that can make a noticeable impact.

1. Choose the long route. For many people, it’s an automatic move to find the closest parking space or shortest distance to the door. With your lifestyle goals in mind, consider taking a different approach. Look for ways to work in more physical activity. Seek out a spot in the back of the parking lot as an opportunity to increase your steps for the day, or choose the longer scenic route when walking your dog at the park for a more pleasant experience all-around.

2. Go for guilt-free snacks. Better living isn’t about giving up everything you like; it’s about balance and moderation. For example, Nonni’s Foods now makes a better-for-you chocolate chip thin cookie that lets you enjoy the indulgence without the guilt. Made with real, premium ingredients like dark chocolate, crunchy California almonds and coconut oil, the individual portion packs are portable for the perfect on-the-go snack to satisfy cravings anytime, anywhere. Available in Double Chocolate, Almond Chocolate and Toasted Coconut varieties, each pack contains three cookies that are low in sugar, fat and carbohydrates with an average of only 100 calories total.

3. Take time to recharge. Even when you’re strapped for time, carving out a few minutes for yourself each day to focus on your mental well-being is important. This can include simply enjoying a few moments of silence or something more specific like meditating or journaling. Busy people tend to carry more stress, so looking for ways to inject these calming activities into daily schedules can help keep you refreshed and bring you more happiness.

4. Practice self-care. Especially when you’re busy, it’s easy to slack on self-care, but combine that with elevated stress and you may be especially susceptible to not feeling your best. Give yourself a boost with a daily vitamin or try a warm bath with Epsom salt to soothe your senses.

5. Space out your meals. Waiting hours to eat can cause people to overeat at major mealtimes – especially dinner. Taking time to plan simple snacks throughout the day helps ensure cravings are met and overeating is avoided when the dinner bell rings. Consider keeping a snack like Nonni’s Artisan Thin Chocolate Chip Cookies on-hand for guilt-free snacking when hunger strikes.

For more better-for-you snack ideas, visit nonnis.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Nonni’s Foods

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen

As days grow longer and temperatures rise, spring cleaning starts to creep to the top of the to-do list for many people. Spring is the perfect time to think about where things can be tidied up, and the kitchen can be a great place to start, especially if you’re looking to make room for healthier options.

Look no further than a store like ALDI, which offers high-quality food at affordable prices, including award-winning, wholesome, better-for-you foods. In fact, 40,000 shoppers voiced their choice in a national survey by global research agency Kantar TNS, and three ALDI-exclusive foods won the prestigious 2018 Product of the Year title.

Try these tips for healthy spring cleaning swaps for your pantry and fridge, and find more helpful ideas at aldi.us.

  1. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

If you’re in the mood for something sweet, reach for the fruit bowl instead of the candy bowl. Fresh fruits like apples, grapes and oranges can curb your craving for sweets without the extra sugar.

  1. Grab Some Guac

For a simple and filling snack, swap out greasy chips and unhealthy dips for hearty veggies and a dip option like ALDI-exclusive Little Salad Bar Fresh Guacamole, a 2018 Product of the Year winner in the Spreads category. It comes in three creamy and delicious flavors: Chunky, Southwest and Pineapple Poblano.

  1. Pass on the Pasta

Cut down on carbs by making your favorite pasta dishes with vegetable noodles instead of spaghetti. Try making “noodles” by peeling vegetable ribbons of zucchini, sweet potatoes, carrots or cucumbers. Simply mix them with your choice of protein and top with a savory sauce for a feel-good twist on comfort food.

  1. Go for Greek

Instead of conventional yogurt, pick a better-for-you Greek option with more protein. For example, ALDI-exclusive Friendly Farms Greek Yogurt Tilts, a 2018 Product of the Year winner in the Snack Cup category, contain low-fat Greek yogurt and delectable toppings that can be combined with just a tilt. The yogurt comes in two fun flavors: Crazy for Coconut and Key Lime Crunch.

  1. Gain Some Grains

When choosing breads and grains, go for multigrain or whole-grain options instead of white. The same goes for rice. Brown rice and whole-grain foods have a higher nutritional value and keep you feeling full, thanks to the increased fiber content.

  1. Pick Up Some Protein

Opt for snacks that can fill you up with protein and nutrients. Try an option such as ALDI-exclusive Elevation by Millville High Protein Bars, a 2018 Product of the Year winner in the Better-For-You Snacks category. They live up to their name with 20 grams of protein and 13 vitamins and minerals in each bar. They also come in two delicious flavors: Mint Chocolate and Chocolate Peanut Butter. (Family Features)

Images courtesy of Fotolia

SOURCE:
ALDI

5 Ways to Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace

Although women are making strides in the corporate world, there is still work that can be done to level the landscape.

Research from Catalyst, a global nonprofit focused on empowering and accelerating women in business, shows the needle is moving, albeit slowly. In nearly 10 years, the number of women in senior roles in the United States increased just 1 percent. At Standard & Poor’s 500 index companies, overall women’s representation is far behind: 5.2 percent CEOs, 11 percent top earners and 26.5 percent senior-level officials and managers. Less than 5 percent of senior level positions are held by women of color. Men still lead more than 95 percent of the most powerful companies in the United States.

On March 7, the eve of International Women’s Day 2018, dozens of global companies will “light up” their buildings and skylines with the female symbol as part of the “Catalyst Skyline Takeover,” which is a visual realization of the international business community’s commitment to greater diversity, inclusion and gender equality in workplaces around the world.

If you’re looking for ways to promote change in your workplace, explore these five steps that can help build a work environment where everyone can advance and succeed:

Assess and formalize pay scales. As numerous studies indicate, wage disparity is one of the most obvious signs of inequality in the workplace. A fair pay scale outlines specific responsibilities and corresponding compensation rates, and can be applied to roles across the board regardless of race, gender or other potential discriminatory factors.

Ensure growth opportunities exist. Leveling the pay scale is an important step, but ensuring equal access to the positions at the higher end of that scale is an essential supporting move. Simply saying you’ll pay a woman the same as a man in the same job falls short if all candidates, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity are not given the same chance to compete for more senior positions.

Engage in programs that celebrate women of color. Tap into resources that honor women in leadership and foster growth for aspiring women leaders from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, such as those available through Catalyst. The nonprofit offers a host of ongoing workshops, programs, trainings and consulting services designed to promote inclusive workplaces, along with events around the world.

Implement mentorship programs. Positive role models can give future leaders the vision to dream big and the guidance to make those dreams a reality. Putting aspiring women leaders in close contact with other women who have attained success in their field helps set a course toward achievement. It also helps men to advance and develop unbiased leadership. Since the majority of business leaders are currently men, change for women can only be accelerated if all those in leadership positions work together.

Support parental involvement. Historically, the issue of parenting and the workforce has been dominated by discussions around maternity leave policies, but more recently that dialogue has evolved. Men, too, desire more time with their families, and through equal parental leave policies, workplaces can allow women and men within all types of family structures to thrive in their careers and at home.

Find more resources and recommendations for promoting workplace equality at catalyst.org. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Catalyst

How to Get the Best Deals Online

There are obvious benefits to shopping online. You can skip the lines and congested parking lots all while taking your time and enjoying the comfort of shopping in your pajamas. One of the biggest draws, however, is the potential money savings.

Learn how to make the most of your online shopping and nab the best digital deals with these tips:

Subscribe to email lists. In the past, most people avoided email lists like the plague. However, email subscribers get some of the best deals that retailers offer, so if you can tolerate a few more messages in your inbox, it’s a good way to stay in-the-know about sales and promotions.

Combine membership benefits. Many member-based programs are expanding their partnerships with other retailers to offer enhanced benefits. Keeping tabs on the latest offers can ensure you’re maximizing your membership. One example is Woot.com, which features daily deals on items ranging from top tech gadgets to kitchen gizmos to sporting goods, and now offers free shipping for Amazon Prime members. Visit woot.com/prime to learn more.

Seek out discount codes. Whether you subscribe to a site that aggregates codes, rely on a browser extension or even do a manual search, wait to confirm an order until first checking to see if there are any discount codes available. Some retailers make it easier than others by having a code tool built into their checkout screen, but even if they don’t, it can be worth the extra time to verify the current offers.

Check in on daily deals. Many online retailers specialize in daily deals and site-wide offers, which you can explore by visiting the individual sites or, in some cases, registering for notifications. Be aware that many of these deals are available for a limited time and in limited quantities, such as on Woot.com, which launches new deals every 30 minutes on select days. It’s to your advantage to understand how often your favorite sites post new deals and the flash sales they offer. Some of the best ways to stay connected are by subscribing to the site’s newsletter or following the site’s social media channels.

Use your shopping cart. Retailers have become quite sophisticated at monitoring shoppers’ habits and behaviors, and while it may feel a little invasive, it can pay off to your advantage. For example, if you place items in your shopping cart then close out of your browser, it’s possible you’ll receive an email within the next day or two with an offer to incentivize you to complete your purchase.

Take advantage of free shipping. If your purchase isn’t time-sensitive or you have some flexibility, take advantage of free shipping offers. Look for sites that provide free shipping for shoppers, or those that don’t offer free shipping every day but regularly run free shipping promotions. Check shipping thresholds to see when free shipping becomes available (often based on the price of the order) and consider combining purchases to take advantage of free shipping offers.

Once you have a few tricks in place, scoring savings online can be more lucrative and easier than old-school coupon clipping. Combine that with the convenience of shopping from home and you’ve got one smart deal. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Woot!